How to get (and keep) the best kind of man…

It’s no secret that I’m crazy about my boyfriend. Who will one day be my husband because he’s also pretty in love with me. If you know us or are even friends with either of us on facebook, the mushy content can probably be a little throw-up inducing at times. I’m just fine with that! It’s better than us sharing pictures of our dinner constantly or posting how much we hate politics. The kind of love and friendship and blended family we have together is special and rare and we both like to celebrate it. It took years and years to find the one person in this world who I can share anything with, who always understands, who loves and protects me and always has my back. Like any couple, we have our moments. Neither of us are perfect people, yet we accept each others flaws as well as appreciate all the other persons great qualities.

I have leaned there’s a few key things to a successful relationship. Respect is #1. Men need to be respected…and a relationship is much more likely to be a wonderful one if the woman truly respects her man. I respect Ryan as my partner, as a father to his boys, as a father figure to mine, as a police officer, as a son to his parents and as a brother to his sister. I respect him as a man in general, especially as my man. He is the head of our family even though we are on an equal playing field as partners. Trust goes hand in hand with respect. If you don’t trust your other half 100%, you got nothing. No foundation. We live far apart from each other now and I don’t get to see him all the time. There’s zero doubt in my mind that he loves me and is always thinking of me and considers me when making decisions. He would never ever intentionally hurt me in any way. He trusts me in the same way and knows that he is my heart and he comes first and his feelings matter very much, I would never jeopardize our trust, that’s something that can never be fully rebuilt once destroyed. Forgiveness. We both wake up on the wrong side of bed sometimes. So goes life. If I’m slightly annoyed I tell him I’m annoyed because (whatever reason)…and it’s bothering me. If it’s something we need to discuss further, we can talk about it when he’s free and can devote his attention to it, but I love him and hope he’s having a wonderful day. I can only think of once he’s been frustrated with me for just a moment. I could tell I unintentionally said something he didn’t appreciate and he just gave me That look. You know, That look, it says, “you really went there, I am not happy with you.” So I gave him some space and apologized for upsetting him as soon as he came to talk to me. I let him know I would never intentionally upset him or piss him off, he means more to me than that and I was out of line and I’m sorry. That’s all he needed to hear. Hugged me and said it’s fine, no tears. Forgiveness and having a soft heart towards each other is so, so very important. Appreciation. All the reasons I respect him, I also appreciate those things about him. I let him know every single day that I appreciate him. Remind him that he’s awesome and a wonderful man and I’m thankful that he’s mine. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have him as my partner and friend. In turn he strives to be the best man he can be for me and for the rest of the world as well. I tell him I’m proud of him. For all the big things and all the little things. I’m his biggest cheerleader. Went to the gym this morning? Yay! Way to go! I’m proud of him for being such a responsible father. For always being polite even when he doesn’t want to be, especially with some of the junk and stupidity he has to deal with at work. Encourage him. Remind him he’s not alone. In anything he does, I’m here to help. He wants to get healthier, I make him healthy stuff to take home for lunches, pick him up some good low calorie snacks to put in the police car so he doesn’t eat junk and feel bad about it later. From little things like that to big things, such as changing careers and saving for a home. Whatever he wants, he has my full support. Hold him accountable. He actually brought this to my attention during a disagreement once. A disagreement about a sensitive subject in his life. I gave my two cents on the issue and told him I just feel that he could handle it in a much better way. He told me thank you for holding him accountable for his actions, he’s glad that I do and he knows I do it because I love him. Absolutely the truth. Honesty and openness…we will get old together. Our solid friendship will be there to help through life’s ups and downs. Love doesn’t make the world go round unfortunately and it’s not always butterflies and rainbows and sometimes we don’t feel crazy super in love and romantic. That’s totally normal and fine. Having a real and close friendship will make spending life together that much more enjoyable. I talk to him like he’s my best friend, because he is. I share funny things and make him laugh, I listen when he just needs to vent, tell him my secrets when the time is right, be silly with him, do things he likes with him and be considerate of his needs and wants and feelings. I often do things to make him proud of me. Men gossip more than women! Give him good stuff to brag about to his friends! I’m the girlfriend that he enjoys being around, wants to do everything with, makes him proud to be seen in public with.

Now this next section may be slightly controversial. This is what I think is important for women and a lot of women wouldn’t agree with me about it. I’m fine with that!

Women should be lady like. All the time. I don’t mean always wearing high heels with red lipstick, but that shouldn’t be ignored. Even when it’s pajama time or one of those days you stay home and don’t get dressed until noon, make it look good. Never neglect personal hygiene. Legs should be shaved, cupcakes (code word for vag) should be smooth or kept up, hair should look acceptable. It takes two minutes to put it in a cute bun or ponytail even on the worst hair day. I personally prefer long hair and think it’s much more girly and feminine. Mascara and moisturizer and cherry chap-stick go a long way and take virtually no time to apply.

That’s another thing, being feminine. So many women seem to totally let that go out the window. Ladies, come on now! Embrace being a woman and all the nice features that come along with it! Pretty girls don’t burp or fart. They don’t even like to talk about it. Always pee with the door closed! That ends that discussion. Wear dresses or skirts occasionally. Cute panties are important too. Panty-lines are gross.

Cooking…..that’s a touchy subject everyone has their own opinion on. Some women just can’t cook and accept it as just being the way it is. Being a southern gal from the city with the best food in the world, New Orleans, I find the ability to cook a huge necessity. Not just a good quality to have, but absolutely necessary. A man who works hard should be able to come home to a nice dinner. Especially a man who works 12 hour shifts and is risking his life on a daily basis. Every chance I get to make him dinner, I do. Anything he wants. If I don’t know how to make it, I’ll learn. Now he’s also an excellent cook and likes to be in the kitchen with me. He loves to bake. So it’s become something fun that we like to do together and it’s a good routine for us to be able to spend time in the kitchen helping each other and talking about whatever comes up.

Speaking of talking about whatever comes up….the bedroom! Ladies, stop hating porn. You read about it! 50 Shades of Gray is the hottest book out these these days and all my friends have read it and probably drooled all over their copy of that book. What if your man said, “Oh, so you like Mr. Gray better than me? He does it for you and you aren’t interested in me?” (Or other nonsense you won’t hear a man say about porn) Women like books about porn for the same reasons men like videos of porn. Humans in general are sexual beings. Most people have the desire to have kids and reproduce, Just part of normal life. Most women can appreciate a hot guys body. Why is it not ok for a man to look? If your man would rather have porn over your body on a regular basis, there’s definitely a problem with that….and he’s probably not the man for you anyway. In a healthy and happy relationship with all the qualities I mentioned previously, respect, trust, appreciation, friendship and love….let there be porn! I often send him links to videos I think he would enjoy, or links to videos that I enjoy. (I hope to God his mother never discovers my blog!) Or even in the grocery store, I’ll whisper, “hey baby, really nice butt on that girl with the blue top on to your left!” He will glance and smile and get a kick out of it that his girlfriend is relaxed and trusting enough as well as secure enough to admire and point out a good looking person. He sends me pics of country music super stars I find hot. Above all, he’s mine and he loves me. I have stretch marks, a c-section scar, my boobs aren’t as perky as they once were (thanks, kids!) and I could definitely do a few more squats. Physical attraction to each other is important but our love runs much deeper than looks. I am secure in knowing that he wants me and me only. That he finds my imperfect body beautiful and is glad to have his way with it and wants me in every way. Pointing out a nice rack or admiring a Hooters waitress won’t change that. In fact, it lets him know I trust him completely. This opens up all kinds of doors. It creates a whole new level of fun in the bedroom. Nobody should ever use sex as a punishment or make their partner feel unwanted when things get hard. I mean times, issues, things in life…when things are difficult. (just to clarify!) When I’m having a hard time, he’s my go-to. I want his arms around me, I need him close to me. Sometimes sex is a great distraction and helps you feel closer to the person you love. When you feel connected it’s much easier to compromise and be compassionate and all those things.

Trust plays a big part in the bedroom. Having a partner that you can share your most intimate thoughts with is amazing. We have a no-boundaries rule in the bedroom. There’s no secrets. I want to know what turns him on. The things he likes that he wouldn’t normally feel comfortable sharing. No judging. If he said he liked some crazy wild out there stuff, as long as it’s legal, fine with me! As long as it doesn’t involve other people in our lives, it’s fair game. I do not and will not ever share my man and he feels the same way. It took a while to get him to completely get over being a little bit shy about sharing intimate thoughts, it was worth waiting for. The closer we get the more we both get to enjoy it. If he’s into something that I’m not into I don’t instantly shut him down and say no way that isn’t going to happen. I consider it, tell him what I do or don’t like about it and let him know I’m willing to try it. As his woman, as his partner and his love, I want to turn him on. I want to be the girl in his fantasies. As a joke once when we were being silly he said his fantasy is me, in a bacon skirt, wearing a football helmet, holding a beer. I’m still trying to figure out how to make a bacon skirt…because I’d totally do that and take a few pictures for him! Just to make him smile. I let him know he does it for me, allllll the time. He probably gets tired of hearing how handsome he is. That he’s perfect in every way for me. That I love his smile and his eyes and sexy hair. That his manly thighs turn me on and I constantly want to grab his butt. I can’t wait to get him naked and alone with me.

Then there is mutual consideration and understanding of each other as individuals. I tell him he’s hot and amazing because he can’t read my mind. I don’t say I’m mad and let him try to guess why. Men and women are different. Sometimes when you are so close to a person and feel that they know you better than anyone and you finish each others sentences often, it’s easy to forget they can’t read your mind. Say what you feel. Be polite and kind to each other. Like many couples, we are on different pages with our sex drives at times. Instead of it being a problem, or one partner feeling like the other isn’t meeting their needs, we talk about it. I let him know that I will never, ever turn him down. A headache is not an acceptable excuse. There’s Tylonel for that. If one of us isn’t in the mood, that’s fine because we communicate what we want exactly. Often times I’ll tell him that more than anything I just want to be close to him, it doesn’t have to be all hot and steamy. He will say he just wants to snuggle. But if one of us really wants and needs the other, we do our best to be accommodating! Our love life is fantastic. It is a topic that requires a lot of communication and trust and even some vulnerability at times. It takes work to have a great love life and that is very important in a relationship. We are friends first and then lovers. I appreciate and love that about us and it has a lot to do with what makes us a great team and a happy, healthy couple.

Parenting…..can be stressful. Especially when you blend a family. There’s previous spouses, there are kids that instantly become siblings pretty much, there’s lots of great things and a few tough things about it. It’s best done together. I find it’s something you have to be on the same page about. Parenting together does have boundaries. I love and respect him as a father. He appreciates me as a mother. His children look up to me and I love them as if they were mine. He feels the same way about my kids. But he’s not my kids father. I’m not his kids mom. That’s just the fact of the matter. We don’t spank the others children. For us, it’s just a line neither of us feel the need to cross. As far as discipline we are on the same page. I’ll punish his kids, he can punish mine. We do many things as a family. We treat all the boys equally. I tell each one of them privately that they are my favorite and they all believe they are. This is true, they are all my favorites 🙂 in their own ways. We celebrate their strengths as individuals, encourage them as brothers, raise them to be good little men. Parenting is definitely difficult at times. He has struggles as a divorced father, always feels like he should be doing more and worries about if his kids are truly happy and doing ok. I reassure him that he does a great job and he’s a wonderful dad. He really is. The absolute best dad I have ever seen. When he’s having a hard time we talk it out, come up with new ideas of how to handle things together. Sometimes he just needs me to listen to him vent his frustrations or worries and doesn’t need any advice. Every now and then I hold him and comfort him when it’s all just too much and he needs a break from real life and adult responsibilities. We all have our moments of being overwhelmed, especially as parents (and parents of pre-teens with attitudes!). When mine are driving me crazy, or if they did something cool and I’m proud of him, or if I don’t know the best way to handle something, I talk to him about it. He’s my rock, he’s my partner and taking care of us as a couple makes us better parents. It is nice to know that he understands my struggles as a single mother and he wants to help me in every way possible or be there to listen if I just need to let it all out. Our kids are pretty well adjusted and happy boys for the most part. Overall they get along well. The big boys are 11 and 10 and the little boys are 8 and 6. They are all so unique. The little family we have made together is really awesome and I’m very proud of it.

Gross the kids out. On a regular basis. This is a good one! We hold hands. all the time. He places his hand on my lower back when we are in public. We kiss each other whenever we feel like it (save all the heavy making out for private time). He always opens the car door for me, even when we are coming back from grocery shopping. I wait, I’ll actually pause and wait for him to open the door unless it’s raining or we are in a rush or whatever. I’m fully encouraging of him being a gentleman and our boys learning those things by example.

Share in his excitement and happiness. About anything and everything. he’s into college football. I’m not. I like NFL football. I think college football has stupid rules, I hate their playoff system, I feel like the players don’t want to get hurt OR they are playing their hearts out so they can get into the pros….it’s just not my thing. But he loves it. So I love it with him. It is nothing for me to bake some wings and put on some purple and gold stuff and root for LSU on his behalf because it brings him joy. In return, he helps me shop for pretty dresses because I like it.

It has to be all about him sometimes. He just found his old partner (police stuff) who he was good friends with but lost touch with and is really happy about it. That is pretty cool. I suggested they go grab a drink together and hang out. My womanly instincts want to meet his friend and bake stuff and hang out with them while they catch up. But it’s not always about me and what I want and he needs his space to do his own things just like I need mine. He goes hunting, I’m all for boys nights at Hooters once or twice a month. I want to have wine and talk about high heels and make up and sex, with my girlfriends occasionally. I encourage him to be the man I fell in love with who had his own life and just included me into it. Knowing that you can survive apart and you are a couple only because you truly want to be, not need to be, is really powerful. We depend on each other emotionally in many ways. I know he’s always there for me no matter what and I’m here for him in any capacity I possibly can be for him as well. Financially, boundaries are important. I will never let him be the sole income for our family. It’s not fair to him to have all the responsibility placed on his shoulders and money troubles are a problem for so many couples. When we live together one person may provide more in certain areas than the other does, but it will never be all on him. I know from first hand experience that being a stay at home mom is the hardest and most demanding job in the world. It truly is. I used to love to go back to work after my days off sometimes just for a break! I will always work to help provide for us and pull my weight. In the event that I wasn’t working and we had bills together, if something happened and I was just not able to for whatever reason for a while, that house would be spotless, dinner would be cooked and he wouldn’t lift a finger. His underwear would be nicely folded and I’d make sure to work out extra and keep up with myself the best I can as well. If he’d be willing to do whatever necessary to support me and my kids plus his kids and our whole family in the event that I couldn’t, that’s a privilege that shouldn’t go unappreciated or unnoticed. As his partner, I’d rather provide half of the income and split all of the house hold responsibilities and keep it equal and balanced between us. When it comes to money, I subscribe to the “yours, mine and ours” theory. I have mine, he has his, we share whatever we need to. Money isn’t a topic worth fighting about in my book. As long as both partners are doing their best. You can’t take money with you when you die. Your kids won’t remember how much you spent on them. I don’t remember or care what my favorite bracelet he got me cost or how much I have spent on our lunch dates. If he has it and I need it, he shares. If I have it and he needs it, I share. It’s a team effort. When he books a vacation I pick up the things we will need for it. When I stay at his house I get groceries and cook for everyone.

It’s about being considerate of the other person and being open and communicating well. It’s about being the best partner you can be and being the best best-friend possible to the person who loves and wants you. Love like this is special. I’d be lying if I said it just came simply. It takes work. It takes dedication. It takes us turning to each other instead of against each other when times are tough. There’s been a lot of tears mixed up with countless hugs and smiles and laughs, a few fights and a whole lot of unlimited love with no conditions. It’s all worth it in the end.

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